There is no escaping the size of the task that Arsenal face in Swansea this weekend. I was at the Grove a month ago when the Welsh side outplayed us and deservedly took three points back across the Severn Bridge. Fortunately the lacklustre Arsenal that played that day had a run-out at Southampton in the week so I am anticipating a far better performance from our Jekyll and Hyde side on Sunday.
“I hope they face a different Arsenal this time”
You’re not alone there, Arsene. We have lost our last two matches against Swansea, and only just pipped them 1-0 at the Grove last season. They try and play the way we used to on a regular basis, so if we do recover our A game this could be a magnificent tie to watch.
With a week to recover before the Manchester City home game I would expect to see our strongest side take the field on Sunday lunchtime. That selection is not clear cut, however. Arsene has decisions to make in his back four. Carl Jenkinson and Per Mertesacker must surely come into the reckoning. He also has to decide whether to retain Theo Walcott in the central striking role or recall Olivier Giroud.
It being a cup tie we will also need potential game changers on the bench. Tomas Rosicky is a given, but I hope Andrey Arshavin too is in the squad. With the West Ham Premiership fixture to be rearranged in January a draw is not a desirable outcome in any way, shape, or form. Let’s look to play fast, get the ball moving forwards, and take calculated risks to create the chances that were so lacking in the week.
For no reason other than blind faith I am looking at us to win this one at the first attempt. As on Tuesday, the bookies favour a 1-1 draw, but I will place the ‘holic pound on a 2-1 away win. That will turn the price of a pint into about a gallon, or thereabouts. How about Mikel Arteta, penalty taker, to score at any time? Gunners Gaming offer an interesting 21/5 against that, so will be my backup punt. Click on the banner above to take advantage of their generosity. Thanks.
Bye For Now, Marouane
The news that Marouane Chamakh has gone on loan to West Ham United for the remainder of the season is probably a good bit of business for all concerned. He was clearly never going to be given the run of games he needs to recover his mojo at Arsenal. After a bright half a season as cover for the injured van Stapleton when he arrived things have gone a bit pear-shaped for the Moroccan. I can’t help but think that the way Sam Allardyce likes his team to play could bring the best out of Chamakh. I hope so, for his sake.
Junior Gunners Have A Blast
Away from the general air of doom around the world of social media it was a pleasure to read the comments of one of ours, Gooner Ref, in the last set of drinks.
Yesterday (3rd Jan for those having trouble remembering) son, who is a Junior Gunner, went to the annual party at The Ems, dropped him off at 10am and picked him up at 4pm, He spent the day being entertained, watching the training session and finally getting photo’s and autographs with the team – total cost of a priceless day for him? absolutely nothing, thats right £0.00.
The images of the event can be found on the official club website. Arsenal are quite rightly being questioned about things that are perceived to be wrong at the moment. It is great to be reminded that they also get some stuff right. Giving the future support a day they will never forget is not something the club and the players had to do. It was something they wanted to do.
Classenal, that’s us.
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